“We’ve had complaints, sir.”
The voice was quiet and stern, forced from a clenched mouth above and behind him.
Quentin looked up from the journal.
“Staring at our delicious young ladies,” she said. “You should be ashamed.”
“Deeply ashamed,” he said.
Vinnie’s hands covered his face, his glasses. Then she came around, kneeling on the library floor in front of him.
He removed his glasses, wiping off smudges and putting them on again. But no, the woman was still wearing a long, girly dress. “What’s going on?”
“Besides your arrest and conviction?”
He laughed, and she seemed to laugh too. But the expression was forced, as if the grin were trying to shatter her face.
“Something’s wrong,” he guessed.
“All right. What’s right?”
Her laugh shifted, louder and stranger, dredging up emotions resembling anger. Yet she sounded only joyous when she told him, “I discovered something, Quentin.”
“I like men too.”
He nodded. “That’s why you kissed me.”
“Did I? Well, maybe. But no, it was after that. The revelation came later.”
Her gaze was too much. He dropped his eyes, staring at a photograph of mudstone infused with the elegant bones and feathers of a toothy bird.
“You know what?” she asked.
“We should go out.”
He looked at a woman’s hair, not blonde and not brown either, with a small pointed chin and the narrow mouth and wide eyes that had never had any color in Quentin’s mind. But now the eyes were green, surrounded by delicate paints and a face that looked wonderfully pretty when it wanted.
“I’ll pay for your dinner, and a show,” she said.
He started to refuse.
Sensing failure, Vinnie jumped at him, kissing his mouth quick and hard. Then she stood before him, thumbs smudging the lens while she giggled, saying, “Pick the night. Any night. Okay?”